South Peace News
Two citizens and a community organization were recognized for their efforts and contributions to the town of McLennan during a brief ceremony May 1.
Dan Labreque, better known locally as “Dan the Stickman’, Doreen Potskin, and members of the Northern Alberta Historical Railway Museum were honoured by town council.
Mayor Jason Doris and members of council presented the awards.
“We are here today to recognize and celebrate the backbone of our community. Volunteers!” said Doris.
“National Volunteer Week is just wrapping up but our volunteers’ jobs never seem to. They tirelessly continue throughout the year to put time, efforts and their own resources into their assorted projects. The come in all shapes and sizes. They span all sorts of different types of jobs and duties. But they all have something in common: making our community a better place.”
Doris described Labrecque, who was nominated by the McLennan Local Recreation Board for 2021 Volunteer-of-the-Year, as an “outstanding member” of McLennan.
“He isn’t shy to sponsor local events and has taken upon himself to chip in with his time and equipment,” said Doris.
A recent example was the fire pits and lumber he supplied to the popular and well-used sliding hill last winter.
“This charitable action hasn’t gone unnoticed and is greatly appreciated.”
Potskin was nominated by the Lakeview Pioneer Society for the 2021 Volunteer Recognition Award.
“Doreen has been happily volunteering at Second Look Boutique for over 10 years,” read Doris from the nomination.
“When on the job, Doreen is friendly and always goes above and beyond to help customers find what they need.”
Potskin also spends time sorting and displaying all donations and covers shifts when needed.
The nomination also cites Potskin’s sense of humour and commitment, which is appreciated by other staff and the community.
A third award, called the 2021 Acknowledgement Award, was presented to Northern Alberta Historical Railway Museum [NAHRM] volunteers Euclide Bisson, Dennis Blais, Roger Bruneau, Chris Futter, Julien Gervais, Dennis Hawthorne and Pinto Rondeau.
Doris noted the group worked very hard since 2019 on the old Falher Railway Station, which is now part of the NAHRM.
“The group is made up of seven individuals whose combined age is 525 years,” noted Doris.
“Since the [railway station] was moved from Falher, which in itself was a huge undertaking, the building has been repaired and painted inside, a new kitchen was planned and built around donated equipment for the ice crem café. The outside decks have been repaired, attached and rebuilt in places. The bunkhouse has been moved and a ramp built to connect to the existing walkway.
“Most days the group would work about four hours a day during week,” he added. “The parking area took mane hours of grading and packing.”
And, grass was reseeded and leveled.
The museum opened July 1, 2021.
“Many visitors from all over Canada have enjoyed the displays and ice cream,” said Doris.
“I know it is usual to nominate one person for this award, but this group has achieved so much I think they should all be recognized.”
It was ironic and fitting the award was presented in the building which the group did so much to make a reality. Council decided to hold the presentations at the museum in conjunction with its opening for the summer season.
“Volunteering is empathy in action” was this year’s theme for Volunteer Week, which occurred from April 24-30.
“This statement couldn’t be more true in describing our award recipients,” said Doris.
“They have intertwined themselves in our community for years and understand the needs of our residents.”